Midfielder’s £15million move from Sevilla ended his chances of another European title for this season at least
VICENTE IBORRA could have been leading Sevilla out in the Champions League at old foes Liverpool on Wednesday.
Instead the treble Europa League winner turned his back on the competition to join Leicester, a club that diced with a drop into the Championship last term.
But after a decade of rubbing shoulders with the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, the Foxes’ £15million Spanish signing could not wait to swap sophisticated, sultry Seville for Leicester.
The midfielder, 29, said: “After ten years in La Liga I fancied a change.
“The Premier League is a league that calls you. It is different from other leagues in Europe.
“It’s the next experience in my career.
“I’m 29 now and it was always my intention to play abroad some day.
“I have two boys, two and four years old, and they are already footballers! I think it will be good for them to experience life in England.
“I wasn’t concerned by what happened to Leicester last season.
“They were champions of England a year ago and although they had some problems last season they were good enough to knock Sevilla out of the Champions League!
“So I didn’t think about anything negative. I was impressed by what my representatives told me about the project here at Leicester and how ambitious the club is.”
Iborra suffered a groin injury on the eve of the opening game of the season against Arsenal, meaning Foxes fans have yet to see him in action.
But manager Craig Shakespeare hopes he will soon get some action under his belt — especially as the club looks to replace the recently departed Danny Drinkwater in midfield.
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Iborra seems set to feature either at home to Chelsea today or in a run-out for the Under-23s early next week.
He has experienced the passion of Leicester first-hand though after playing for Sevilla on a dramatic Champions League night at the King Power in March.
Samir Nasri was sent off after clashing with Jamie Vardy as the Foxes won 2-0 to go through 3-2 on aggregate.
And Iborra recalled: “I remember the atmosphere well.
“We could sense Leicester’s fans were really with their team and there was a great chemistry between them and the players.
“I have no doubt it spurred them on and helped turn the tie round and it’s something I look forward to experiencing for myself.
“Having won the Europa League for three consecutive seasons we believed we could make a big impact in the Champions League.
“But they took their chances and were more efficient, it was an opportunity lost.
“Nasri being sent off wasn’t a great decision but I wouldn’t blame him — or my new team-mate Jamie Vardy!”
There is no chance of Iborra ever losing the plot, as Nasri did when the red mist came down that night.
The former Sevilla captain has a reputation in Spain for being a model professional who ALWAYS sacrifices himself for the good of the team.
But despite being a mainstay in midfield for Sevilla, Iborra only played a total of four minutes in the club’s trio of Europa Cup triumphs.
He said: “I have nothing but happy memories of those Europa League final wins over Benfica, Dnipro and Liverpool, they were all positive experiences.
“I joined Sevilla from Levante because I wanted to win trophies and that’s what we achieved. We made a lot of people very happy.
“I scored crucial goals against good teams like Borussia Monchengladbach and Villarreal during those campaigns and I was happy to be a part of it.
“I know the contribution I made.
“To play three years in Europe without anyone knocking us out was incredible.
“They were famous nights for us.”
Iborra also proved his professionalism extends beyond the pitch when he went to extraordinary lengths to prepare for his initiation at Leicester.
He revealed: “As the new boy I was forced to sing a song for the boys when we were in Hong Kong for the Asia Trophy.
” think it went well.
“I sang ‘I gotta feeling’. It should have been good, because I spent a whole week on my own in my hotel room practising it!”